Arusha, November 4, 2010 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will next Monday hear closing arguments from the parties in the case of genocide-accused and former Rwandan Director in the Ministry of Women and Family Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Gatete. 

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‘'The closing arguments will be presented Monday as scheduled,'' ICTR Trial Attorney Drew White asserted Thursday. White also confirmed that between October 26 and 30, 2010 the parties and the Trial Chamber visited several areas in Rwanda where crimes were allegedly committed.

Gatete is charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. He pleads not guilty.

The defendant, who also served as mayor of his native commune of Murambi in Byumba prefecture (Northeast Rwanda) between 1987 and 1993, was relieved of his duty in 1993 amidst allegations that he persecuted the Tutsis of Murambi. But soon after, he was appointed Director in the Ministry of Women and Family Affairs then headed by Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, who is also on trial before the ICTR.

Gatete was a member of the National Congress of former ruling party MRND and was active in party politics both at national and provincial level. According to the prosecution, he continued to control local police, gendarmes and militiamen in the Byumba and Kibungo prefectures after his dismissal. The indictment alleges that he used his influence to organize massacres of Tutsis in both prefectures.

The defendant was arrested in Congo-Brazzaville on September 11, 2002, and subsequently transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha.  His trial started on October 20, 2009. The Defence closed its case on March 29 after fielding 27 witnesses while the prosecution closed its case on November 16 after calling 22 witnesses.


© Hirondelle News Agency